Friday, January 14, 2011

Criticism Of The Right Is Well-Deserved

Since the shooting of nearly twenty innocent people (six of whom were killed) in Arizona, there has been a debate on hate speech and whether it had anything to do with that shooting.   The right has been dancing as fast as they can in a effort to deny any culpability.   But regardless of whether Loughner (the Arizona shooter) was influenced by the violent rhetoric from the right or not, there is little doubt there has been a lot of that rhetoric and it has created an atmosphere where nuts can think they might have approval for violent actions.   Here is just a sample of some of the right-wing hate speech:

"You know why there's a Second Amendment?   In case the government fails to follow the first one."
"I tell people don't kill all the liberals.   Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. . . .No, I think I could.   I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out.   Is this wrong?"
"Every night I get down on my knees and pray that Dennis Kucinich will burst into flames."

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
". . .liberals are always against America.   They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America's self-preservation, the difference is irrevelant."
"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too."
"I think a baseball bat is the most effective way (to talk to liberals) these days."

"Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq War."

"We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."

"And I think people like Tim Russert and the others . . .they're the ones to be shot."

"They ought to hang this Soros guy."

"Don't retreat, reload."
"Lock and load."

This is just a small sample of the violent rhetoric from right-wing leaders.   They would have us believe that no one is affected by this kind of speech -- that it is just harmless political speech.   I wish that was true, but the fact is that there are far too many instances of violence for political reasons in this country -- and it happens because of the climate that is created by this kind of hate speech.   Here is just a few of the incidents that have happened (by right-wingers who thought they were justified because of their political views):

  • July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

  • October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

  • December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

  • December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.

  • January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.

  • February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.

  • April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.

  • April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.

  • May 2009: A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

  • June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.

  • February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one "domestic terrorism" too.)

  • March 2010: Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.

  • March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.

  • May 2010: A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.

  • May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.

  • May 2010: Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.

  • July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.

  • September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.

  • Even those right-wingers who know some of their leaders have stepped over the line try to justify it by saying there is violent rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum.   They would have us think that this kind of rhetoric happens equally on the left and right.   Not true!   It is much more common on the right (and usually considered to be very funny -- like the picture above).   The left may be passionate in its beliefs, but they are not calling for the assassination of anyone on the right, and there are no left-wingers carrying out acts of violence.

    There is no excuse for this kind of hate talk or hate violence.   Americans may disagree, but that does not make them enemies, and it should not make them targets.


    1. "They would have us think that this kind of rhetoric happens equally on the left and right. Not true! It is much more common on the right. . ."

      Here's an interesting Quinnipiac University survey that seems to refute that:

      "American voters say 52 - 41 percent that "heated political rhetoric drives unstable people to commit violence," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Liberals rather than conservatives are more responsible for such rhetoric, voters say 36 - 32 percent. [Emphasis added]

      "The left may be passionate in its beliefs, but they are not calling for the assassination of anyone on the right. . . "


      "...and there are no left-wingers carrying out acts of violence."

      Ted Kaczynski? Joe Stack? James Lee? (I'm sure there are others, but I don't have the time to search for more on the Internet; my lunch hour ends in 4 minutes.)

    2. oh that's bullshit..the odds of there being more crazy violent left wingers than right wingers is just bull shit..during 8 years of bush no one was treating to kill him. kick his ass...maybe..kill him? no.

    3. "..during 8 years of bush no one was treating to kill him. kick his ass...maybe..kill him? no"

      Check out this;

      and this;

      and this;

      and this;

      and this.

      I could go on, but it serves no earthly purpose, other than to force you to find other examples of how violent the Right is.

      I'm not asking you to equate the violent rhetoric of the Left with that of the Right. All I'm asking you to do is admit that left-wing violent rhetoric does exist, and that it's dangerous, too.

      Assuming arguendo that there's 10 times as much violent rhetoric on the Right as there is on the Left, does that make the left-wing vitriol any less dangerous?

      In his speech in Tucson, President Obama said, "[I]t's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."

      Over the last 18 years, I've seen the rhetoric get coarser and coarser, more and more violent: first against Clinton, then against Bush, now against Obama. How can we break this cycle? By demonizing the other side? All that does is engender more vitriol.

      I for one am sick to death of the demonizing on both sides. I'm willing to denounce it regardless of whether it comes from the Left or the Right.

      I'm also willing to acknowledge that the vast majority of the people on the opposite side of the political spectrum want the best for this country. I may vehemently disagree with their policies and think that those policies will ultimately hurt the country, but I don't think their intent is evil - just wrong-headed.

      How about you? Are you ready to break the cycle, because ultimately you're the only person whose rhetoric you can control.

      If we can't disagree without being disagreeable, if we can't start anew from this point forward, then there's no hope of ever healing the wounds.

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    6. CT-
      I checked out your links, and I didn't see where it said these people were leftists or made their threats because of political reasons. And none of them could be considered as leaders by any stretch of the imagination.

    7. Sigh...I was responding to Yellow Dog Granny's assertion that "no one was treating [sic] to kill him."

      "... if we can't start anew from this point forward, then there's no hope of ever healing the wounds."

      Curious Texan
      1/14/2011 9:37 PM

      You win, Ted. Conservatives are evil; liberals are virtuous.

      I guess there's no hope of ever getting past this. We're never going to make any progress in finding common ground about breaking the cycle of violence if it always has to be framed in Left v. Right. If scoring political points is so central to this topic, if it always has to be a zero sum game, then I guess I'll have to politely bow out of this discussion.

      (BTW, for anyone reading this thread, those deleted comments were mine - not because Ted had to censor me, but because I inadvertently posted the same comment numerous times.)

    8. Bill Ayers, ghost writer for Barack Obama's first book was a member of the Weather Underground. It was their stated policy to murder 25 million Americans, to encourage the others.

    9. Where is the evidence that Ayers wrote anything for President Obama?

    10. Q: Where is the evidence that Ayers wrote anything for President Obama?

      A: "Did Bill Ayers Write Obama’s 'Dreams'?" by Jack Cashill, PhD

      Part 1

      Part 2

      Part 3

    11. I can't believe you're using wild speculation from a source as questionable as World Net Daily as proof! That's not even close to evidence.

    12. "I can't believe you're using wild speculation from a source as questionable as World Net Daily as proof! That's not even close to evidence."

      Translation: Conservatives are evil; liberals are virtuous.

      You asked for evidence, not proof.

      What did you expect, signed confessions from Ayers and Obama?

      One man's "wild speculation" is another man's "circumstantial evidence."

      Jack Cashill (PhD, American Studies, Perdue University) is the author of "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture," a book that takes an historical look at fraud within academia.

      Here are some reviews of his book.

      One of the most scathing critiques is written by "S.K. Shuttleworth" (listed as his "real name"), who himself claims to hold a PhD in American Studies. Yet a quick Google search reveals numerous reviews written by "S.K.Shuttleworth" - and virtually nothing else. Methinks the good "doctor" doth protest too much. Perhaps "Hoodwinked" hit a little too close to home.

      If World Net Daily and Thomas Nelson, Inc. doesn't establish Cashill's bona fides, how about Fortune, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal?

      I'm not saying what Cashill provides is proof positive, and I'm not necessarily convinced it's true, but "wild speculation"?

      This is "wild speculation."

    13. No, that's not "wild speculation". It's a cartoon. It's not meant to be "evidence" or "proof" -- just to make a person smile.

      And just because I have no respect for World Net Daily doesn't mean I consider all conservatives to be evil (or all liberals virtuous). You've read this blog long enough to know there are some conservatives that I respect, even though I disagree with them on many political points.

    14. Like this made conservatives smile?

      If "violent rhetoric" (whatever that is) makes for a more dangerous environment, shouldn't both sides restrain themselves?

      If the Right-Wing can be linked to gun violence, doesn't that on a certain level justify Eric Fuller's death threat against Tea Party spokesman Trent Humphries in order to stop them before they strike again?

    15. While I understand Fuller's anger, his threat was over the line and appropriate action was taken (and he's not a liberal or leftist leader).

      And I don't remember ever saying violent rhetoric on the left is justified.

    16. Here's a link to the transcript of an interview of Fuller on Democracy Now!, a left-wing radio show carried on over 900 radio stations. The interview aired on Friday, after the shooting but before the death threat against Humphries.

      Here's an interesting quote from Fuller:

      "And the first thing that I wrote down and what my reaction was to it was: 'How many other people? How many other demented people are out there? It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target. Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled—senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even nine-year-old girls.'" [Emphasis added]

      And later in the interview:

      "I worked hard to elect Gabrielle Giffords."

      Maybe he's not a liberal; Rep. Giffords is a moderate Democrat, so he could have worked hard to elect her because he's moderate or independent.

      But do you think the incessant vitriol on the Left directed against Palin and the Tea Party might have been a factor in sending him over the top on Saturday?

    17. Are you now admitting that Loughner was an angry right-winger, CT?

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    19. If you can:

      1) provide evidence that Loughner "worked hard to elect" a Tea Party candidate (or even a mainstream Republican candidate); and

      2) in the course of that political activism developed the same kind of hatred for Democrats that Fuller expressed for Republicans in his Democracy Now! interview; then

      3) I'd be glad to "admit" that Loughner was an "angry right-winger."

    20. Why should I prove anything? It was you who provided the comment that Loughner was sent over the top by "the incessant vitriol on the left against Palin and the Tea Party."

    21. I was referring to Fuller throughout that entire comment; I thought that was clear. But to elucidate further:

      "But do you think the incessant vitriol on the Left directed against Palin and the Tea Party might have been a factor in sending him [Fuller - not Loughner] over the top on Saturday [January 15, 2011 - not January 8, 2011]?"


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